Cooperation on food security and nutrition in Africa

Joint statement by Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom

Perth, Australia
30 October 2011

1. Effective and cooperative action to secure long-term food security and improved nutrition in developing countries is a priority shared by all Commonwealth countries, as reflected in the Perth Declaration on Food Security Principles.  The humanitarian crisis now affecting the Horn of Africa is a tragic reminder of the chronic food insecurity that afflicts many parts of that continent.  As significant Commonwealth donor countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom undertake to work closely together in addressing the challenges of food security and nutrition in Africa.
2. Since the launch of the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative and the declaration of the World Summit on Food Security in 2009, our countries have collectively committed over US$3 billion in support of efforts to improve food security and nutrition in developing countries, with particular attention to the needs and productive capacities of smallholder farmers and women.  Innovative programs addressing core elements of African food security include the Australia-Africa Food Security Initiative, the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, New Zealand’s Africa Agricultural Diplomacy Initiative and the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, of which the United Kingdom is a founding member and significant supporter.  This is in addition to our contributions to global funds and programs such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and to humanitarian agencies addressing the crisis in the Horn of Africa through the provision of emergency food aid and nutritional supplements, shelter, medical supplies and cash transfers to the poorest families. 

3. In taking forward our cooperation with African countries, regional institutions and global institutions on food security, nutrition and rural development, we seek to work in alignment with the priorities set by African countries themselves, in line with internationally agreed aid effectiveness principles.  We therefore each commit to anchor our assistance in regional frameworks such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), and related national frameworks.  Working in this way, we shall develop inclusive partnerships, improve alignment with our partners' national and regional strategies and deliver tangible and durable outcomes for Africa's poor rural communities.  We hold firmly the view that common and coordinated approaches reduce transaction costs for our partners, avoid duplication and achieve mutually reinforcing outcomes.  Moreover, they improve the effectiveness of our interactions with international, regional and non-governmental organisations and promote mutual accountability.   

4. We undertake to work in a consultative and coordinated fashion to utilise the best agricultural research and development capabilities available within our countries, within Africa and globally to find innovative solutions to the challenges of food security and nutrition in Africa.  We shall provide strong support for, and coordinate our countries’ engagement with, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and with the range of other international organizations charged with core responsibilities in the fields of rural development, food security and nutrition.

5. We shall regularly—and no less than once per year—review the intensity and quality of our cooperation on food security and nutrition in Africa, using existing inter-agency consultation arrangements and structures, with a view to identifying and replicating successful approaches and further simplifying the delivery of our programs of assistance to Africa, including through delegated cooperation arrangements.

Perth, 30 October 2011